Re: Maudlin's Demon (Argument)

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 12:36:44 +0200

Hi George,

Are you still there on the list?
I am really sorry to (re)discover your post just now, with a label
saying that I have to answer it, but apparently I didn't. So here is
the answer, with a delay of about one year :(

Le 08-oct.-06, à 08:00, George Levy wrote :

> Finally I read your filmed graph argument which I have stored in my
> computer. (The original at the Iridia web site
> is not accessible anymore. I am not sure why.)

Apparently it works now. You have to scroll on the pdf document to see
the text.

> In page TROIS -61 you describe an experience of consciousness which is
> comprised partially of a later physical process and partially of the
> recording of an earlier physical process.


> It is possible to resolve the paradox simply by saying that
> consciousness involves two partial processes ...

Why? With comp, consciousness can be associated with the active boolean
graph, the one which will be recorded. No need of the second one.

> ... each occupying two
> different time intervals, the time intervals being connected by a
> recording, such that the earlier partial process is combined with the
> later partial process, the recording acting as a connection device.

But is there any sense in which consciousness can supervene on the
later partial process? All the trouble is there, because the later
process has the same physical process-features than the active brain,
although by construction there is no sense to attribute it any
computational process (like a movie).

> I am not saying that consciousness supervene on the physical substrate.


> All I am saying is that the example does not prove that consciousness
> does not supervene the physical.

Yes, you are right from a logical point of view, but only by assuming
some form of non-computationalism.
With comp + physical supervenience, you have to attach a consciousness
to the active boolean graph, and then, by physical supervenience, to
the later process, which do no more compute. (And then Maudlin shows
that you can change the second process so that it computes again, but
without any physical activity of the kind relevant to say that you
implement a computation. So, physical supervenience is made wrong.

> The example is just an instance of
> consciousness operating across two different time intervals by mean of
> a
> physical substrate and a physical means (recording) of connecting these
> two time intervals.

The problem is that with comp, consciousness has to be associated to
the first process, and by physical supervenience, it has to be attached
also to the second process. But then you can force the second process
to do the correct computation (meaning that it handles the
counterfactuals), without any genuine physical activity (reread Maudlin
perhaps, or its translation in term of filmed graph like in chapter
trois of "Conscience et Mécanisme").

So, postulating comp, we have to associate the many possible "physical
brains" to a type of computation, and not the inverse.

Does this help?


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Received on Tue Oct 02 2007 - 06:36:55 PDT

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